Hurricane fire department receives new heart monitor

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 7:32 PM EDT
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HURRICANE, W.Va. (WSAZ) - When it comes to your heart, the unknown could lead to a serious emergency.

“Our old monitor looked at the heart from one direction, and really all it let us see was life-threatening problems,” said Hurricane Fire Chief Deron Wilkes.

But any minor heart complications that are not picked up by that monitor could become deadly.

“Part of our district is 30 minutes away. So, if the ambulance is another 15-20 minutes behind us, now those people are waiting 45 minutes for an ambulance,” Wilkes said.

With an $18,000 donation from the city of Hurricane, this new cardiac monitor allows the Hurricane Fire Department to detect a heart attack sooner.

“The new monitor looks at the heart from 12 different directions and lets us pick out small changes that may be going on to help us diagnose what really may be causing the problem and what needs to happen as far as treatment,” Wilkes said.

It all comes down to being able to diagnose more effectively, so treatment comes faster.

“The faster we can look at problems and say ‘yes, it appears that you’re actually having a heart attack,’ it lets us start making decisions and making treatment steps to try to decrease it,” Wilkes said.

Because when a heart attack begins, the clock starts ticking.

“Time is muscle,” Wilkes said.

Wilkes also says even if someone is not experiencing chest pains, this monitor serves other purposes. It can conduct blood pressure readings and even carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels, as well.

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